St. Marys holds off Wheeling

ST. MARYS – D.J. Burgess hurled 6 1-3 innings of two-run ball and picked up the mound win here Thursday evening at Dave Wilson Field as host St. Marys Post 79 held on for an 8-7 victory versus Wheeling Post 1 in American Legion Area 1 baseball action.

The triumph for Post 79 gave skipper Wirt Cook’s club a 7-8 overall record. It also marked the Area 1 opener for his team.

“Do I still have hair?,” Cook quipped after the game as Wheeling (9-4) scored five times in the top of the seventh inning with the aid of two St. Marys errors. “It was ugly, but a win is a win, is a win.

“I’d rather have had it a little prettier, but we’ll take it. I was getting ready to flip out. D.J. pitched a great game. He battled. He didn’t have any zip on his fastball, but his curve was his out pitch.”

Post 1, which returns to action today at the Chillicothe tournament, got to Burgess for a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second to take the early lead. Domonic Ellis and Andrew Kowalo, who each went 2-for-3, started the frame with a single and double respectively. Ellis came home on the first of five St. Marys errors and Kowalo made it 2-0 when he scored on Justice Jackson’s RBI fielder’s choice.

However, Post 79 then got the bats rolling against losing hurler Matt Brooks, who allowed 12 hits and seven earned runs. Brooks, who went the distance despite allowing nine hits in the first three innings, settled down in the middle frames and retired nine of 10 batters at one point.

Zack Romine got the bottom of the second started for the hosts with a single to left and then Tyler Davis – who got the final two outs of the game, although not easily – reached on an infield single. Matthew Houser then put down a sacrifice and No. 9 hitter Robbie Harper walked to load the bases for Mitch Davis.

Although Mitch Davis nearly clubbed a grand slam, pulling a would-be homer just foul, he did come through with an RBI base knock before Jarrod Lough cleared the bases with two outs when he smoked a three-run two-bagger to deep center.

St. Marys, set to play host to Beckley Post 32 in a 1 p.m. Saturday twinbill, dented the scoreboard for two more runs in the third. Burgess doubled and scored on an error, and Romine singled, stole second and eventually crossed the plate on Tyler Davis’ RBI fielder’s choice.

Post 79 took what appeared to be a commanding 8-2 cushion into the top of the seventh, thanks to a two-run sixth. Mitch Davis’ one-out walk and stolen base led to run No. 7 when he scored on an error. Cleanup hitter Ryder Bolin, who went 3-for-4 with a double, then delivered an RBI single to right.

Wheeling, which started the game 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and finished 2- for-16, sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh before Tyler Davis finally ended it by striking out Nate Bakaitis. Prior to that, Burgess was chased and Post 1 received runs-batted-in from Kowalo, Tyler Ashbrook, Colton Coss and Nick Naumann.